From José Muñoz , Director, Coalition for Community Schools Interim Director, Institute for Educational Leadership
Last week President Biden signed into law the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which will provide much-needed relief to millions of Americans who have suffered-financially and otherwise- due to the pandemic and lift millions more-including children-out of poverty.
And among the historic $123 billion allocated for K-12 state and local education agencies, “evidence-based full-service Community Schools” is listed as an allowable use of school district spending for mental health services! In addition to this language, the bill mirrors prior relief packages in its flexibility to allow school districts to spend most of its funds on any allowable use, including Full-Service Community Schools, in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and other education bills.
This is a huge victory for community schools advocates and practitioners who know the positive impact that community schools have every day on students, families, and communities and particularly during times of crisis like the pandemic.
We want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who signed onto our letter to Capitol Hill urging that community schools be included in this and future relief bills and believe this had a direct impact on our success. #Advocacyworks! We also want to thank our Congressional champions Senators Brown (D-OH), Gillibrand (D-NY), and Van Hollen (D-MD) and Reps. Hoyer (D-MD) and Jones (D-NY) for elevating community schools to Congress including the reintroduction of the Full-Service Community Schools Expansion Act last month (S. 385/H.R. 1241).
Learn more about what this bill means for education funding so you can advocate to your state and local education officials for an effective investment of these funds, including through Community Schools.
Thank you again for your advocacy and let us continue our collective work through and beyond the pandemic to ensure all our children receive the support, learning, enrichment, and love they need to thrive.